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Chapter 7: Cultivating Tastes
Cultivating children’s tastes and directing their affections toward what is good, true, and beautiful begins with the development of deeply satisfying relationships with worthy literature, music, art, and more, as well as with a consistent habit of working well. “The atmosphere, the way in which work is talked about, the way in which work is engaged… that will communicate everything to a child about they will relate, how they should relate to work. In a place where hard work is normal, . . . where sweat is part of life, and when staying on task even when head and hand are tired is a good thing, a noble thing; it’s what we ought to do; that’s what we all do here,” children see work as a normal part of life. Charlotte Mason described the deeply satisfying nature of completing set work with excellence; this good and noble habit is cultivated in students at Ambleside® schools and homeschools. Dr. Bill St. Cyr and Maryellen St. Cyr of Ambleside® Schools International discuss the importance of setting an atmosphere that supports a noble approach to work.
Chapter 8: Worthy Work
How do we support or undermine the proper attitude toward worthy work? Charlotte Mason writes that it begins with work that is intrinsically satisfying. Poor habits of thinking may overrule a sense of satisfaction with worthy work, and the most well-intentioned adults may inadvertently contaminate the atmosphere. “How do atmospheres get contaminated? They can get contaminated, not only by teacher anxiety, but by the use of artificial rewards and incentives, which demean the joy of knowing, and they demean the student’s capacity for intrinsic motivation.”
Artificial incentives communicate that it is impossible to enjoy history, mathematics, science and literature in and of themselves; we just endure these parts of education to appease the adults and get to the “good stuff”- pizza and a movie.
Dr. Bill St. Cyr of Ambleside® Schools International discusses the sub-text implications of a reward based approach to work.
Chapter 9: How Much Does the Student Care?
Charlotte Mason wrote, “The question is not, - how much does the youth know? When he has finished his education -- But how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? Dr. Bill St. Cyr of Ambleside® Schools International discusses the role atmosphere plays in cultivating relationships affinities toward history, grammar, science and mathematics. ”Who’s going to be the student that grows to his God-given ability? The student who cares.”